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" Thanks to all the staff at DRI Womens Hospital - great obstetric care in Doncaster"

About: Doncaster Royal Infirmary / Maternity care

(as the patient),

After having a particularly traumatic experience of giving birth in a hospital in the South of England (Luton and Dunstable) with my first child, I was understandably terrified at the prospect of being induced at DRI with my third child. However, the experience of a hospital birth in DRI could not have been more different. The facilities were fantastic; in particular the set up of the rooms in the delivery suite which combined comfort with practicality. The staff on duty could not have been more supportive and professional. It is with their care and support that a potentially difficult delivery was transformed into such a positive birth experience. In contrast with my first experience of giving birth in Luton, I felt treated with respect, involved in all decisions made and that the choices I was offered were related to my needs and not the hospital targets.

It is a credit to the staff on duty that this happened despite my labour taking place during a particularly busy period of time. Although I was aware that members of staff were busy I felt safe and protected from this, and felt that it did not have any impact on the quality of care I received.

It is of interest that the birth of my son at Luton and Dunstable hospital eleven years ago had similar, but fewer complications. In short, he was in a posterior position, I had a long labour. Before he passed meconium and showed signs of his heartbeat dipping after contractions I felt bullied and coerced into signing consent forms for treatment I didn't want, and as it turns out didn't need. I was subjected to a consultant bursting into the labour room (a very clinical environment) and demanding that the midwife persuade me to sign for an epidural and caesarian, the midwife promptly placed pressure on my partner for me to sign the forms. This occured after I had spent part of my labour in the father's waiting room and was also told I'd have to give birth in an operating theatre as they were short of space. Aftercare was similarly horrific. I was not offered facilities to clean myself after labour, when I asked for a bath the following day the staff member on duty guestured to a communal bathroom (2 baths and one shower). Both of the baths were filthy and had chips in the base with grime in the crack. I had to scrub the bath clean before I got in. In addition, there was no hot water.

In contrast, the birth of my daughter in DRI was a terrific experience despite posterior position, induction, my daughter trying to be born shoulder first then face first, traces of meconium in her amniotic fluid, heartbeat dipping and a long labour. I felt informed and in control of the situation during the 53 hours of induction, labour and recovery.

I would like to think that the difference in treatment is linked to the 11 year gap between children and not the different hospitals, however, as a close friend of mine recently received similarly poor treatment while in the care of the L & D I fear this is not the case.

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